Predestination conquers pornography. Or, as I heard John Piper once say, “Theology can conquer biology.” Because we know God, we can “abstain from sexual immorality,” and we can “know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:3–5).

I know doctrine can trample over the lusts of the flesh, because that’s exactly what sovereign grace did for me. While some may view election as a controversial doctrine, the Holy Spirit used this doctrine to deliver me from the evils of pornography.I grew up as an average kid in a Southern Baptist Church. I went to church three times week. I sang in the youth choir. I even had a stint in the puppet ministry. I reluctantly joined in the aisle-movements of “Walk, walk, walk, walk, in the light,” and arm-waving antics to “Waves of mercy, waves of grace.” I led Bible studies, played my acoustic in the youth band, and all the while, I was enslaved to pornography from seventh grade to my sophomore year of high school.

I knew it was bad. I knew my parents would flip out. But I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know who to talk to. No one—seriously, no one (back then) —was talking about it. Guilt and shame weighed heavily upon me. I kept telling myself, “Today is the last time.” I even bought a ring bearing the Alpha and Omega Greek letters, to serve as a kind of detour for fulfilling my lust. Well, Jesus is no talisman or amulet—that’s not how he works. I would take the ring off, and click my way to digital dens of iniquity. Christian paraphernalia has no power to change us. What we need is the power of the crucified and risen Christ at work in our hearts. And that’s exactly what happen to me one Sunday morning. The love of Christ changes everything.

Savoring Soteriology

One Sunday morning of my sophomore year, instead of using of my NIV Student Bible to give my arm that two-and-a-half more inches to prop my head for ideal sleeping, I heeded the words. I opened my Bible to Ephesians, and I read along with my pastor, starting at Ephesians 1:3.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:3–14)

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